HHS to Covered Entities: Check Your Mail—HIPAA Audits are Coming

The long-anticipated Phase 2 of the HIPAA audit program of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is coming soon. Phase 1, which took place over 2011 and 2012, found that many covered entities were noncompliant with HIPAA requirements. HHS announced last spring that about 1,200 screening surveys would be sent to covered entities to identify which entities will be audited during Phase 2. The OCR is currently sending out preliminary communications via email and postal mail to verify entities’ contact information prior to sending the surveys.

The OCR plans to conduct desk audits of about 350 covered entities before progressing to onsite audits. The covered entities selected will include providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses (as defined by HHS), as well as business associates. Audits will focus on Security Standards compliance, Privacy Standards compliance and Breach Notification Standards compliance, and covered entities and business associates will likely have a short window in which to provide a complete response.

Covered entities can prepare for a potential HIPAA audit by ensuring that compliance materials are up-to-date, policies and procedures are being followed properly, and business associate agreements accurately reflect both parties’ HIPAA obligations. Covered entities should also be compliant with the 2013 HIPAA final rule, which was released after Phase 1 of the audit program was completed.

About The Boon Group

The Boon Group® is a full service employee benefits company specializing in the design, implementation and administration of cost-effective fringe benefit plans for federal, state and local government contractors. Since 1982, The Boon Group has developed a partnership philosophy that expands beyond the products and services we offer. We stand with the employers and employees who, just like all who work at The Boon Group, are faced with the daunting task of navigating the U.S. healthcare system. Together, we can find a better way for all Americans to access healthcare. The Boon Group, Inc. is the parent holding company of The Boon Insurance Agency, Inc., Boon Administrative Services, Inc. (formerly named CEBA), Boon Insurance Management Services, L.P., Health & Welfare Benefit Systems, Inc. and Boon Investment Group, Inc. The Boon Group was formed to support and strengthen the position of these companies as a wholesaler of exclusive products and services. www.boongroup.com
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